Don’t you ever wonder how some women manage to stay slim and look absolutely fabulous even after weeks, or even months, of traveling while not having access to their local gym and healthy home-cooked meals?
Don’t you ever wonder how these ladies manage to eat their way through each and every country while updating their social media feeds with photographic evidence of themselves stuffing their beautiful faces with delicious brunches, dinners and desserts?
It’s no secret that I travel a lot more often than the average person, and I know many people who travel way more than I do. And we all know the struggle of keeping up a healthy lifestyle while living in a suitcase and hopping from restaurant to restaurant, bar to bar, food truck to food truck.
When you look at me and my social media posts, you wouldn’t think I’m someone you should be taking advice from in terms of weight loss and healthy living. I have a few extra kilos, I love food so much I plan my days around what or where to eat for dinner, and I am not at all a fitness guru or anything like that.
The advice I give is based on my own personal experience and my own journey from reaching the point of feeling disgusted and depressed by what I saw in the mirror, to the point where I am now – which is maybe five kilos away from my ideal weight.
Before I became a frequent traveler and a travel blogger, I lived a life full of routines.
Four years ago, I had a full time job, I had my own apartment, I had a gym membership and I enjoyed cooking healthy food – especially vegetarian food (even if I never considered myself a vegetarian).
Going to the gym at 7 am was absolutely not a problem for me. Nor was spending hours in the kitchen cooking the perfect veggie patties and baking low-fat vegan brownies as “cheat meals” for the weekends. I have never looked as good as I did back then.
But I wasn’t happy with my 9-5 job and what I viewed as a boring lifestyle, so I moved to the US (where I landed a job in Disney World) and started solo traveling from state to state and visited different Caribbean islands with my friends – and continued traveling a lot more after returning to Europe almost three years ago.
Two years and a half ago, I moved to France and started traveling a lot inside of the country and to neighboring countries. By this time my healthy lifestyle had gone completely out of the window and I was left looking like a big fat blob.
I didn’t even realize the seriousness of it all, until I was in Norway, visiting my parents for the summer (two years ago). There I was, sitting on my bedroom floor, trying on some of the clothes I’d left at their place before moving abroad four years ago. I was completely shocked when trying on all these beautiful blouses and dresses I once used to wear on a daily basis.
Nothing fit me anymore. Absolutely nothing.
And that’s when I decided to make a lot of small changes in my life.
While living a freelancer- and traveler’s lifestyle, it’s simply unrealistic to make any drastic changes. While some people manage to do that, most people won’t. Me included.
But anyone can change a few bad habits and add some new good ones to their lives and slowly burn off those extra kilos and feel like a better and healthier person – even while on vacation.
Thanks to those small changes I’ve made while traveling (and while being home, working on my laptop), I’ve lost most of the weight I gained – and I couldn’t be happier!
This is how I stay in shape and avoid gaining weight while traveling
- I take the stairs instead of the escalators/elevator. I know how much it sucks to take the stairs when you’re carrying heavy luggage and feeling extremely tired after a long flight. But you might wanna give it a try, as it’s actually a great cardio exercise. You won’t need the gym when you can carry luggage or shopping bags and run up and down the stairs at the metro or train station instead. Also, when heading to the breakfast buffet at your hotel in the morning – take the stairs instead of the elevator. Staying on the first floor? No problem. You can still walk up and down the stairs just for the sake of burning calories. Consider it your little morning exercise before treating yourself to a nice breakfast!
- I stay hydrated with water instead of sugary soft drinks. Put a bottle of water in your handbag or small backpack before heading out to the beach, to the pool or to go sightseeing. We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, and water is so much better for you than any other soft drink. Keeping a bottle in your bag might just prevent you from heading to the nearest supermarket or vending machine and buying a can of soda whenever you’re thirsty!
- I put fruits and granola bars in my handbag/backpack. Again, this is all about being prepared for thirst and hunger to arrive at some point during the day. Whether you’re gonna explore a big city and visit a bunch of museums, or you’re just planning to hang out by the pool, a granola bar and fruits will be a better option than ordering french fries or churros from some random takeout place, just because you were hungry and needed a snack.
- I recently started wearing an activity tracker wristband. My boyfriend made fun of me when I first bought my FitBit, but now he wants one too. An activity tracker is not a miracle worker, but if you’re someone who loves to be challenged, you’ll have a great time using one. It will track your steps and movements, you can create your own calorie/food diary on the application – and the tracker will notify you and challenge you whenever it thinks you should be moving (not during the night, though). It might not work for everyone, but it works for me – and it’s a fun little gadget!
- I swim, hike, dance and ride a bicycle whenever the opportunity arises. Planning a trip to the beach to get your tan on? While you’re there, go for a long walk in the sand or jump into the water and go for a swim before getting comfortable on a lounge chair with a book in your hand. Going to the pool? Swim a few laps. Visiting a big city? Rent a bicycle for an hour or two. Staying at an all-inclusive resort? Check out the resort’s on-site activities. Yoga in the morning? Dance classes in the afternoon? Be there!
- I eat exactly whatever I want, but moderately. If you’ve ever been to a really fancy restaurant and enjoyed a three-course meal, you’ve probably noticed that the portions aren’t exactly big and you’ll be able to finish it all. You’re not left feeling like you needed to force yourself, and after you’ve finished eating you won’t feel like a balloon that’s about to explode. Think about that next time you go to an “all you can eat” buffet or enjoy a large pub meal or dinner at a family restaurant somewhere. If your main course is huge, you might wanna skip dessert. Or share one with someone else. And if you can’t even finish your main course, don’t. If you don’t want the leftovers to go to waste, ask for a to-go box and finish it later. It’s better to eat smaller portions of the things you really want to eat, than chewing on lettuce and celery every day and counting every single calorie of everything you eat. Trying local specialties is an important part of traveling. Don’t miss out!
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